Best friend asked you to be a part of her wedding party? Well read on then because today, guest blogger Caitlin Kenney of Ultimate Bridesmaid has shared some pearls of wisdom that every bridesmaid should know about.
So you’re a bridesmaid…now what? Anyone can follow a list of bridesmaid duties (plan a shower, throw a bachelorette party, buy the dress, walk down the aisle), but being a bridesmaid isn’t really about completing a list of tasks—it’s about being there for the bride as one of her closest friends. Your best friend may just go slightly insane in the coming months as she’s planning her wedding and it’s up to you to be there to entertain her concerns regarding buttercream versus fondant and also gently let her know if she’s gone off the rails.
The true key to being a great bridesmaid is to always be a source of positivity and encouragement—never complain or criticize. The bride may make decisions that you would never make yourself. But the absolute last thing she needs is one of her best friends sowing doubt. At the end of the day, it’s her wedding and she gets to do it the way she wants. So even if you hate the pale yellow color she’s chosen for the bridesmaid dresses, for the duration of this wedding you adore pale yellow and you will wear it with pride! Now before you think, “what, so I’m just supposed to lie to her from here on out?”—no, that’s not the case. If the bride asks for your input before choosing her wedding colors, by all means give your honest opinion! If you see a real potential concern in a decision she’s making, voice it. Just remember that advice is okay, but criticism is not. Be positive and helpful.
Once you’ve mastered this, everything else is just a bonus. Being a good bridesmaid is really the same as being a good and thoughtful friend. When planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party, think hard about what your friend would most enjoy. Plan a party that appeals to her tastes, not just the stereotype of a bachelorette party. I’m guessing a lot of women would rather have a party that reflects their personality—a day at a craft fair, a wine tour, or a retro ’80s dance party—than a bunch of penis-shaped necklaces and an unexpected visit from a law enforcement officer mysteriously toting a boom box.
When the wedding day rolls around, come prepared and be on time. The bride’s stress will probably be at its height, so this is when she needs you most. This “getting ready” time has always been a sacred female bonding moment for me. It’s when you feel closest to your friend and most excited for her. It’s also the one moment when you’ll have her all to yourself. Once you head to the reception, the bride is going to be pulled in a million directions as she greets her guests, cuts the cake, and steps onto the dance floor for her first dance. Cherish this quiet moment before the party begins, because it really is special. I like to bring a little card to give to the bride while we’re getting ready that just reaffirms my happiness that she asked me to be in her wedding and my joy that she’s found her special man.
Lastly, a bit of advice for the brides out there: When choosing your bridesmaids, think about who you want to be surrounded by in the hours before your wedding. You’ll be starting to feel a bit nervous or maybe bubbling with excitement—either way, you’ll want to be surrounded by people you care about and love, who you can depend on to calm your nerves with hugs or a glass of champagne, or just jump up and down out of sheer joy (rather than bringing you down with complaints or insecurities of their own). The women who are around you will carry you through to party time, so choose wisely.
Need more help? Check out these Bridesmaid Basics for everything from a step-by-step guide to planning a bachelorette weekend to do’s and don’ts for the maid of honor speech.
Caitlin Kenney is the founder and editor of Ultimate Bridesmaid, a blog dedicated to helping bridesmaids with every aspect of their duties, from bridal shower inspiration to wedding-day duties and more. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.